Author(s): Ratish Gupta
Case studies are self-contained stories about how a real customer overcame their problems using your products or services. Just like a story, good case studies have a beginning, middle, and an end, as well as a protagonist-your customer-overcoming a problem and achieving their objective, just like the main character of a story. By the end of a case study, the reader should be able to visualize themselves as the hero of their own story. They should be able to relate to the problems of your featured customer, and see themselves achieving their own goals by using your product or service. Cases are used as metaphors for a larger-and more general-class of business problems. By addressing several pricing problems in a marketing course, for instance, students are assumed to develop a perspective on what factors influence this class of decisions in all (or at least most) situations. Thus, in the process of considering a pricing decision for an industrial product, students might learn to consider the price of competitive products, the cost of the product, the value of the product to the customer, as well as the possible substitutes for the products, as the factors that need to be considered before making a pricing decision. Not only must a case provide sufficient detail to allow the student to grapple with the problem in a realistic way, but the case must also present the context and the protagonist in a rich fashion. This allows the student to identify with the manager and other decision maker(s) in the case, and to gain some appreciation for the complexity that the “real world” always imposes on choices and decisions.